Eye For Film >> Movies >> A Story That Begins At The End (2003) Film Review
A Story That Begins At The End
Reviewed by: Keith Hennessey Brown
Krishnanunni (Nedumi Venu) is a contented, complacent high-caste landowner. He is respectful of tradition and his ancestors, mindful of their worst excesses, yet grateful for the life they have assured him, complete with loving wife Suma (Sona Nair) and bright, lively young son Unni.
Then, one day, he notices a small growth on his chin while shaving. At first dimissive, the wart rapidly grows too big to be ignored. When it starts to resemble a grotesque goatee, Krishnanunni has had enough. He tries to slice it off using his revered ancestor's cut throat razor, only to awaken to find that Suma and Unni have left and that the wart has now grown to gargantuan, ZZ Top beard proportions...
Starting off in Satyajit Ray territory with low-key sequences illustrating day-to-day life, The Story That Begins At The End gradually becomes more akin to one of Luis Bunuel's satires, before finally veering into the territory of horror schlockmeister Frank Henenlotter (Basket Case, Brain Damage), as Krishnanunni's wart develops a life of its own.
While the film is well enough directed by Murali Nair and features an exceptional performance from Venu that brings to mind Fernando Rey, there's scarcely enough in the director's adaptation (with Madhu Apsara) of OV Vinjan's allegorical short story - the wart being representative of the weight of tradition, which Krishnanunni must renounce more wholeheartedly than he has hitherto done - for a short, let alone a 90-minute feature.
Those who have seen Nair's previous feature, Throne Of Death - an hour long quasi-documentary about the first execution by electric chair in Kerala - will note the director's continuing interest in the conflict between traditional and modern ways, along with the reversal this film presents compared to the rather more sceptical, pessimistic view of Westernisation/progress of its predecessor.
For all its flaws, The Story That Begins At The End marks Nair as a director to watch, providing he can sort out his problems with pacing next time round.Reviewed on: 16 Aug 2003